Wullar Barrage Talks: India To Provide Tech Data To Pak13 May 2011
Islamabad: India Friday agreed to provide comprehensive technical data to Pakistan so that the two countries could reach an 'early and amicable' solution to the 25-year-old Wullar barrage-Tulbul navigation project issue under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty. The decision was reached during two-day talks between the Water Secretaries of the two countries, said a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the parleys. Both sides 'emphasised the need for an early and amicable resolution of the issue within the ambit of the Indus Waters Treaty.' 'In order to address the concerns of both countries, it was agreed that the Indian side shall forward comprehensive technical data to Pakistan within one month. The Pakistan side shall examine the said data and furnish its views to the Indian side by September 15,' the statement said. The two countries will take the matter forward in the light of the outcome of technical consultations and in accordance with Indus Waters Treaty, the joint statement said. Indian officials familiar with the talks told PTI that the discussions had gone off well. The statement said both sides had 'reiterated their commitment to bilateral engagement in a spirit of constructive cooperation' and also reaffirmed their commitment to the Indus Waters Treaty. 'We want to work out a situation where both countries don't lose. We want a solution that is best for the people and still within the ambit of the Indus Waters Treaty,' Water Resources Secretary Dhruv Vijai Singh told Indian journalists. 'We want a people-oriented solution and we will supply more data for Pakistan to examine,' he said. India had drawn up plans to construct the Tulbul navigation project in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1980s following demands from the people for regulating water flows from the Wullar lake in winter. Pakistan objected to the project in 1986, claiming that it violated the Indus Waters Treaty. The issue has been stuck for over two decades due to differing interpretation of legal aspects by the Indian and Pakistani sides, official sources said. India has made it clear that the project is not meant for storing water or increasing the size of the lake. It has also informed Pakistan that release of water in winter will benefit Pakistani dams. The Pakistani side expressed its concerns that the project could be used to block water flows during the 'kharif' crop season in March, and the Indian side has said it is willing to hold consultations to address this issue, the sources said. The talks on the Wullar barrage-Tulbul navigation project are part of the bilateral dialogue process that was recently revived after a gap of over two years.